Twisters can strike during any month but they’re typically the worst here during April, May and June. Meteorologist Brad Small, at the National Weather Service, says it’s been a relatively quiet season for severe weather in the state.
“Tornadoes have been down a little bit. We’ve only issued 14 warnings in the Des Moines/Central Iowa forecast office. We don’t really keep too many numbers on that as far as records, but that’s on the low side,” Small says. “If you look at severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings combined, we’re in the lowest 25% of all the years since the mid-80s.”
There have been 23 reports of tornadoes in Iowa so far in 2020. In all of 2019, there were 54 tornadoes, while in 2018, the total reached 69 twisters. Conditions simply haven’t been conducive for many tornadoes this season, Small says, not that he’s complaining.
“The pattern just hasn’t set up too well,” he says. “You’ve got to have a lot of instability and a lot of wind shear combined. There’s been some episodes where it’s been cooler, so we haven’t had a lot of that instability earlier this spring. Those two elements just haven’t come together too well.”
Small advises Iowans not to get complacent as severe weather, including tornadoes, can develop in fall and winter. Iowa has even recorded December and January tornadoes, though they’re rare. No severe weather is likely for the foreseeable future in Iowa.
Forecasters say warm and humid conditions will persist into the 4th of July weekend.
(By Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City)